King Kong: History in the Making

        The original black and white version of King Kong was a landmark in Hollywood. The film was directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack in 1933. The movie starred Bruce Cabo, as John "Jack" Driscoll, Robert Armstrong as Carl Denham, and Fay Wray as Ann Darrow. The film is notorious for its stop-motion animation work done by Willis O'Brien, its music by Max Steiner, and not to mention Wray's incredible performance.

        Cooper's and Schoedsack's film tells the story of the travel to and adventures on an unknown island of successful film maker, Carl Denham; his friend Jack Driscoll; his crew; and an upcoming actress, Ann Darrow, in hopes of shooting a movie at the location. When they arrive, they discover the natives of the island worshipping a large gorilla they call Kong. The natives kidnap Ann in order to offer her as a sacrifice to the large gorilla. Driscoll is in love with Ann. Therefore, Driscoll, Denham, and part of the crew plan to capture the animal in hopes of saving Ann and also taking Kong back for an exhibition in New York. Kong eventually falls in love with Ann and protects her from any of the island's dangers. However, Kong is finally captured and taken to New York. Then the gorilla wreaks havoc on the Big Apple while trying to protect Ann, but also destroying part of the city.

        The 1933 version of King Kong was the first film to blend character animation and live action in the main body of a movie. Also, Cooper and Schoedsack's King Kong was the first popular film to offer a life-like animated main character. The majority of what is done today with CGI animation got its start from the stop-motion model animation that appeared first in King Kong in 1933. The person credited as the Chief Technician on the 1933 King Kong film is Willis O' Brien. Brien has been looked up to by generations of special effects artists in film in the past, as well as, the present as being the original genius of this form of special effects in motion pictures.

        Also, King Kong is credited as the first Hollywood film production to have thematic music. Films before King Kong had just background music. The thematic music was made possible by Max Steiner.

        In conclusion, the 1933 version of the classic film, King Kong, was very groundbreaking and brought many new concepts to the film industry. The film was selected for preservation in the United States by the National Film Registry in 1991.

Ashley Davis

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